I turn around 56 in July. This was the age my mother died of breast cancer.
I always knew this birthday was going to be tough – a lot of memories came up, good and bad. I fully expect this moment to present unanswerable Question: How much time do I have? Am I doing enough with my life? Have I done everything my mother never did? But I hope to reach this emotional and psychological milestone in a healthy way. Shockingly, just two months before my birthday, I found out I had cancer.
In May, I was diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal cancer after months of stomach pains and gastrointestinal problems. Due to my ruptured appendix last fall, the diagnosis may have taken longer than it should have. I put my pain down on healing after surgery. When stomach and gastrointestinal problems continued, I had a colonoscopy. That’s when doctors discovered the tumor.
I am very lucky because the tumor does not Destroy the colon wall. I also have access to the best cancer care in the country at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The doctors there successfully removed the tumor, and with the support of the wonderful nurses, I was able to recover and go home quickly. I try to resume my daily routine with the same intensity. But no matter how old you are, your body doesn’t bounce back. In my case, the doctor removed and reattached part of my colon and I needed to be at home near the bathroom while my body was trying to repair itself.